Newspaper Article

October 12, 2019

"As You Grow Older, Keep Growing Spiritually"

I recently celebrated another birthday – one of the “big” ones as I move into a new decade of life. I received several shirts as gifts, including one emblazoned with the message, “Recently upgraded to version 60.0”. We usually think of an upgrade as an improvement or a newer and better version of some product, whether a phone, a television, or a remodeled kitchen. Some of us might question whether that concept is fitting for someone getting older. After a certain age, we tend to view our journey as being more “over the hill” and on the downslope as opposed to rising higher. And physically that is often the case.

No matter how well we may take care of ourselves, our bodies do tend to wear down as we move into our later years of life. We discover we can’t do certain things we used to do, at least not as quickly or without it causing us pain or draining us of our energy. Even our mental faculties may eventually show signs of deterioration, as we search for the right word, as that name escapes us, or as we walk into a room and can’t remember why we went in there. Sometimes we can laugh at ourselves and other times we could cry in frustration. As others have aptly noted – getting old isn’t for wimps.

Nevertheless there are ways in which we can view growing older as an upgrade – and I’m not just referring to the additional senior discounts for which I’m now eligible. Hopefully we’ve learned from our many experiences throughout life so that our added years mean added wisdom. Our gray hairs, or lack of hair, can be a sign of growing wiser. There’s much to be said for wisdom and maturity in a world that doesn’t seem to be remembering or learning lessons from the past. An older generation can provide much needed counsel and stability to their younger counterparts.

Most importantly we can stay on the upslope spiritually as we grow older. We can know the reality of what Paul expressed when he wrote, “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (II Corinthians 4:16). As we face the temptations and challenges that come with aging, we can not only maintain a healthy relationship with the Lord, but we can continue to make progress in our walk with Him. We can abound in love even if we may be lacking in energy. We can enjoy more intimate fellowship with the Lord even though we may be feeling more isolated from society. We can have our faith and spirit renewed even as our bodies grow weaker. The line chart graphing our spiritual lives can keep climbing higher in spite of how our medical charts might look.

Additionally, as we journey through those later years in life, we have a hope that can keep us from losing heart. We have the promise of a permanent upgrade coming our way in the future. I suppose we could call it version infinity. We won’t need any further upgrades after that. The Bible tells us that we will be like Jesus. Even these mortal bodies will put on immortality. Therefore we know that we’re never really over the hill if we’re following the Lord. We’re not sliding downward toward disability and death. We’re growing closer to that time when we’re going to be in a better condition than we’ve ever known before. We’re going to be with Jesus and be clothed with a glorious resurrected body free of the limitations of this earthly life.

So let’s allow the Lord to keep upgrading our souls and spirits as we move closer toward that ultimate upgrade in heaven.